How do you take 41 counties in Kentucky and transform them into a virtually unknown singular tourism destination? That was our challenge as we partnered with Eastern Kentucky PRIDE. We set out to brand and restore pride in Kentucky's Appalachian region where negative perceptions have long existed. Our goal was to help the area drive economic development through tourism by creating a memorable regional brand that coalesced local tourism and community organizations around a strategic, unified message.
In an area larger than Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks combined with a strong culture of tradition, music and storytelling, we needed to create an authentic sense of place. Like national parks, The Kentucky Wildlands is home to several natural areas and wonders (Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Red River Gorge Geological Area, Daniel Boone National Forest, the Appalachian Mountains, scenic rivers, lakes, 20 state parks, 800+ waterfalls) along with diverse ecosystems that provide endless recreational opportunities for experiencing the great outdoors.
So, we gave it a name and brand that encompassed what this unique place represented and promised. With buy-in from regional and statewide tourism professionals, DMOs, CVBs, local residents, stakeholders, and hospitality/attraction partners, we created their story and brought the brand to life through development of an identity, positioning, multi-platform campaign, collateral, tourism trade booth, a visitors' guide and branded merchandise - in essence, a whole brand storytelling package. Today, The Kentucky Wildlands has been awarded its National Heritage Area certification. There is increased community pride as the counties and tourism partners that make up this emerging outdoor adventure destination are actively engaged in the brand with a commitment to deliver an authentic, memorable experience.
Brand Solution: The Kentucky Wildlands